Where starting a business is concerned, there never seem to be sufficient resources available, and that includes one of the most precious resources of all: information.
So let's get started:
1. How to Choose a Business Idea
This is sometimes the most difficult step for any entrepreneur.
You know you do not fit in the mold to work for a boss all your life, but the question still remains: "What am I going to do so that I am not stuck in this dead-end job?"
Coming up with a business idea is not that easy for all of us, but there are ways of spotting a good business idea when it presents itself.
Some of the key questions to ask include:
- What problem could I solve by starting a business?
- What's changing with regard to people's needs?
- Can I save people money, and more importantly, time?
- Will I make people's lives easier?
- Could I turn my hobby into a business?
- What are other businesses doing that I could do better?
Below are some insanely useful and interesting articles on how to come up with a great business idea:
- How Entrepreneurs Come Up With Great Ideas
- 54 Amazing Business Ideas and Ways to Make Money
- How to Come Up With a Winning Business Idea
- Six Ways to Come Up With Your Ultimate Business Idea
- How to Come up With Good Business Ideas: A Guide
- Coming Up With a Business Idea
2. Choosing the Right Name for Your Business
What is so important about a company name? Everything!
A company name creates a memorable impression for your clients and customers and often provides insight into what your company does. It should be something unique and easy to remember, as it is your main marketing tool.
Too many people do not give their business's name enough thought, and by the time they want to re-brand, it becomes a costly exercise that can damage their reputation.
It is very important to make sure that your company name is available for registration before you make an investment in registering a domain (see below) or designing a logo.
If you are unable to register your name, you may have to redo your branding, which brings unnecessary costs.
Here are some good resources that will help you come up with a great name:
- How to Name a Business
- Start a Contest Where Random People Help You Find Your Name
- Hire a Company to Find a Name for You
- Video: How to Name a Business
- How to Pick the Perfect Name for Your Business or Startup
3. How to Determine Which Legal Structure Is Best for You
Deciding on the legal structure of your business is an important aspect of starting up, as it can determine a lot of how your daily running of the business will be affected. Research suggests that some of the primary factors in the decision will include: liability of the owner or director, taxation, record keeping, and the availability for funding in various countries.
The main types of businesses are Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, and Companies.
- How to Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business
- Quiz: Find Out What Business Structure Is Best for You
- Evaluating Your Business's Legal Structure
- Register a Company in South Africa
- How to Choose the Best Legal Structure for Your Business
4. Why You Should Create a Business Plan
Let's ask ourselves the question: What is a business plan? The easiest answer is it's a roadmap to your success. It is the plan you have set out to reach certain targets and outcomes you've set in place that you feel will propel your business to the heights you envisioned when starting on your entrepreneurial journey.
A lot of people make the mistake of spending countless hours researching and then setting up their business plan and then never looking at it again. You need to revert to your business plan every three to six months to see whether you are on track. Planning is the key to success in any business -- do not forget to keep your eye on the ball.
- 5 Reasons Why You Need a Business Plan
- Why Should You Create a Written Business Plan?
- Business Plans: A Step-by-Step Guide
- Free Sample Business Plans
- How to Write a Great Business Plan: Key Concepts
- How to Write a Great Business Plan: Executive Summary
- How to Write a Great Business Plan: Overview and Objectives
- How to Write a Great Business Plan: Products and Services
- How to Write a Great Business Plan: Market Opportunities
- How to Write a Great Business Plan: Sales and Marketing
- How to Write a Great Business Plan: Competitive Analysis
- How to Write a Great Business Plan: Operations
- How to Write a Great Business Plan: Management Team
- How to Write a Great Business Plan: Financial Analysis
5. Why a Budget Is Important and How to Finance Your Business
We have all heard it before: "It costs money to make money." And lately, something that rings true: "You have to be in business to have a business." This is easier said than done, because every business needs money starting out, and when I say money, we are talking about cashflow.
There is an old saying, you might have heard it: "Cash is king." Cashflow is important, and so is saving that extra money that came in from an exceptionally good month for the following month that might not be so good. A rule of thumb to go by is to have enough money saved up to be able to run your business and cover all expenses for three months, if not one sale was made. Therefore, you need to draw up a detailed budget, stick to it, and build up that three-month cushion.
- Six Steps to a Better Business Budget
- Seven Reasons Why Your Small Business Should Set a Budget
- Why Is Finance Important to a Business?
- Why Is it Important for a Business to Budget?
- How to Start a Business With No Money
6. How to Become Compliant With the Laws of Your Country
The first step toward your compliance is when you register your business, but that is just where a barrage of administration starts. The other main headache is that the state requires you to pay taxes on your company's turnover and you might have to register for sales tax or VAT once your company reaches a certain threshold. If you are planning to employ people, you will have to make sure your company is a registered employer and you will need to make allowances for the tax being charged on their salaries.
Compliance also enters into the field you are doing business in. If your employees are vulnerable to getting injured on the job, you will need insurance coverage in case someone gets hurt. Various sectors have their own governing bodies you will need to register with, and they have their own multitude of requirements you need to consider first.
- Regulatory Compliance
- COID Registration
- What Are the Five Key Functions of a Compliance Department?
- BEE Certificate/Verification
- South African Compliance Obligations
7. Why You Need an Accounting and Invoicing System, and How to Implement One
You need an accounting and invoicing system to keep track of your daily transactions, as you must submit your company's tax returns to the revenue authorities and they can ask to see all of your financial statements and invoices.
There are many types of software available on the internet, you just need to find the right fit for your business.
- Best Cloud Accounting Software
- The Best Billing and Invoice Software of 2016
- Xero Accounting Software
- Free Small-Business Software
- 10 Online Invoicing Services for Small-Business Owners
- 11 Best Online Accounting, Bookkeeping, and Invoicing Software
8. How to Brand Your Business and Make Sales
There are many steps to take to brand you business and to start generating sales. Your basic branding starts with your logo, website, letterhead, and email signatures. Once these are in place, you need to make sales. The best way to go about making sales is to leverage off your business plan. Who is your target audience and where do they hang out?
Once you answer these questions you'll be well on your way to identifying what methods may work best to reach them.
- How to Brand Your Business in the Digital World
- 8 Ways to Gain More Attention for Your Business
- 5 Branding Tips to Supercharge Your Sales
- 18 Sneaky Ways to Build Brand Awareness
- Are You Using These 25 Sales Techniques to Increase Sales?
- How to Use Google AdWords
- Video: 6 Steps to Facebook Marketing Mastery
9. When to Hire Employees and Whether to Outsource
Getting the right person for the job is a constant problem. Many people still believe their employees should be close by so that they can keep an eye on them to see whether or not they are doing what is expected from them, but this is changing rapidly.
The challenge today is that an employee virtually has more rights than the employer, and getting rid of an underperforming employee or troublemaker is rather difficult, so there is a big trend to outsourcing various tasks that could be done in-house.
Both in-sourcing and outsourcing have their own sets of benefits and shortcomings.
- Outsource or Hire? How to Decide What's Right for Your Business
- Hiring In-House or Outsourcing: Which Is Right for You?
- Overwhelmed? 8 Business Chores You Should Outsource
- Virtual Workforce: Outsource Online
- Hiring: Do You Know How to Pick Them?
10. How to Be a Successful Entrepreneur
Each and every business owner tends to ask this question, and you will receive many different answers. Most successful entrepreneurs will say that you need to take action and you must be willing to fail and not give up. Something just as important is continuous educational self-improvement. The business world is changing quickly, and if you do not keep up with changing trends, you might not be able to keep up.
You need a coach, someone who has already established a successful business and who can help guide you and keep you accountable, as you do not know everything. Do not be afraid to ask for help.
- How to Become a (Successful) Entrepreneur
- 10 Qualities of a Successful Entrepreneur
- 10 Steps to Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur
- 10 Successful Entrepreneurs on How to Be Awesome
- 25 Common Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs
- 10 Things Successful SA Entrepreneurs Do Differently
- From A to Z: 200 Essential Resources for Entrepreneurs Building a Business